When it comes to school budgets, maintenance is often one of the easiest things to cut. After all, it’s much easier to simply reduce the amount of money spent on maintenance than the money earmarked for improving enrolments. And while most shrewd business managers understand that preventative maintenance of school buildings is a financially savvy approach and more cost-effective than fixing things on an ad hoc basis, it can be difficult to justify this regular spending, which a school board may view as unnecessary.
That’s why, as a business manager, it’s important to frame maintenance planning, such as a maintenance painting solution, in terms of its forecasted return on investment (ROI), and how it can ease school budget strains in the long term. In fact, one study found that preventative maintenance resulted in an ROI of 545%.
Make your next school budget meeting a breeze with this easy guide to understanding and communicating the ROI of school building maintenance planning.
Saves significant costs in the long term
By undertaking preventative maintenance on a regular basis, you can minimise natural deterioration and eliminate the costly repair or replacement of building components. A regular maintenance painting plan, for example, protects the surfaces of buildings from the elements, reducing the effects of prolonged exposure to water, salt, sunlight, mould and mildew. Keeping on top of painting requirements also ensures that warranties are honoured, as reputable contractors conduct an annual site visit, ensuring any issues are caught early and dealt with before they become problematic.
This can be easily framed in dollar terms, particularly if your school has had to undertake extensive repair work in the past. When forecasting the budget, estimate how much repair work would be required in the next several years, using any past work as a guide, and then compare this cost to undertaking regular preventative maintenance every year.
Smooths cash flow
Managing school budgets is difficult enough without having to forecast for big upgrades, like major painting or renovation work, every 5–7 years. Regularly scheduled preventative maintenance, on the other hand, smooths out cash flow, as the work is completed in smaller increments every year. This avoids your school from having to make and manage huge withdrawals, and means there’s more money in the coffers for other investments or emergencies.
Is less disruptive
It may seem like doing a big revamp every 5–7 years means less disruption for the students, but this is not necessarily the case. With preventative school building maintenance, the facility is inspected on a far more regular basis, which means any issues like structural damage, decay or rot are identified and dealt with early. Preventative maintenance can also easily be scheduled to occur during holidays, ensuring there is no disruption to students.
Without a preventative maintenance approach for your school, however, you run the risk of small issues steadily becoming much bigger ones through neglect. Not only does this sort of damage cost a lot more to deal with, but if the issue is serious enough, it may necessitate work during term time, resulting in large-scale disruption to students and staff, and unhappy parents, patrons and board members.
As the expression goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression – so it’s crucial that you don’t waste it. Often the first impression people get of your school – whether they’re a prospective parent, teacher, student or patron – is when they enter the grounds. A facility that looks well maintained immediately projects an image of prestige, and assures people that the school is well funded and well managed.
This not only increases enrolment, which of course translates to a healthier budget, but also ensures that you attract the best staff, and provide students with an environment highly conducive to learning, ensuring the school’s reputation continues to grow.
By scheduling the maintenance of school buildings shortly before important dates in the calendar, such as the open days, you can reap maximum benefit from the maintenance work by ensuring the school puts its best foot forward when it most counts.
Poor maintenance can give parents the impression that the school is ‘going downhill’, which may prompt them to withdraw their children and send them to other schools. On the other hand, satisfied parents, who can see that the facility is well looked after and that their school fees are being properly managed, are not only more likely to continue to enrol their children in the school in the years to come, leading to a strong retention rate, but they are also more likely to spread their recommendations to their family and friends, potentially leading to even more enrolments.
By framing school building maintenance in terms of dollars and cents, you can justify preventative planning in a way that makes the school board happy, and ensure the school is always presented in the best possible light. It’s a win-win!
There are so many aspects to running a successful learning facility that require regular attention and oversight. Only with thorough preparation can school business managers meet the ongoing needs of students and staff. Download our Guide to School Management to learn how to better plan, coordinate and oversee your school operations today.
Higgins Coatings provides Australia's schools with building maintenance plans, commercial painting, and refurbishment services in select areas. We understand that school facilities need to make a good impression on parents, students, and alumni at all times. Our preventative maintenance plans are designed to keep your school or educational facility looking its best while working within your timing, budget, and safety requirements. Higgins has an ISO tri-certification accreditation in safety, quality and the environment. Contact us today to learn more about our school painting maintenance solutions.